'The jump from bronze to gold shows how far I've come'
Megan Marrs believes victory in the 100m at this year's Sainsbury's 2014 School Games demonstrates how much she has improved over the last 12 months.
The 16-year-old was among more than 1,600 talented athletes from across the UK who competed in Manchester last week.
Last year, the Strathearn School pupil had to settle for bronze at the Games but 2014 proved more successful when Marrs clocked 12.02 seconds to win the 100m.
Mostly a hurdler by trade, she believes an increased familiarity with the Games helped prepare her better for a shot at gold.
"Last year I felt a bit out of place but this year I knew a lot more people and everyone knew me," said Marrs.
"Coming from Northern Ireland, you're not always expected to do well, so to go and show that we can compete just as well as everyone else is really good.
"I was really hoping that I would win gold because the fastest two runners in the country weren't there and I'm third fastest and I got a bronze last year.
"I knew if I performed at my best that it would be close so I'm very happy with the win. I think the jump from bronze to gold shows how far I've come in a year.
Further success stories include Methodist College pupil Ben Fisher taking silver in the long jump and Belfast High School's Ciaran Barnes clinching bronze in the 400m hurdles. But it was the Marrs household who had double reason to celebrate with Megan's brother Robbie taking home silver in the high jump.
The 15-year-old successfully cleared 1.99m for a personal best, a mark bettered only by eventual winner Rory Dwyer who hit 2.09m, leaving Marrs over the moon with his Games debut.
"I was not expecting to come out and even get a medal so to do that and a personal best as well was just amazing," said the Royal Belfast Academical Institution pupil.
The Sainsbury's 2014 School Games is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.